Rovio, the app developer behind the Angry Birds game series, has announced that a new CEO will take the helm at the beginning of next year.
Mikael Hed will move aside on 1 January to be replaced by Pekka Rantala (pictured), who has more than 20 years of experience in the branded consumer products sector and was most recently CEO of Finnish drinks company Hartwall.
Rantala previously had a successful career with Nokia in which he rose to become senior VP of global marketing.
Hed has been Rovio chief for five years, during which it saw phenomenal success with Angry Birds, which became the most-downloaded mobile game of all time. To ensure a smooth transition, Rantala will work closely with Hed until the end of the year.
Hed said Rantala “is known to be a great leader with experience building successful global consumer brands” and added that he will continue to play an active role and support the incoming CEO to ensure the continued success of Rovio.
Kaj Hed, the chairman of Rovio’s board, nominated the outgoing CEO for a position on the board of directors. The CEO has also been appointed chairman of Rovio Animation Studios, where he will oversee the production of the company’s first feature film which is slated for release in July 2016.
Rovio is following a strategy in which it has used its success with Angry Birds to build a business that includes merchandise, animation, licensing and even theme parks.
However, the company reported a significant fall in profit for 2013 after what CFO Herkko Soininen described as a “foundation-building year” in which it invested in new business areas, such as animation and video distribution, new business models with its games; and consolidated its position in consumer products licensing.
Rovio has historically generated much of its game revenue from paid downloads but the industry shift to freemium games has seen it invest in “the free-to-play economy” with games such as ‘Angry Birds Go!’.